I’m big on intentions. Whenever a new project comes up at work, at home, or in the studio, I ask myself and others involved: What’s the goal? It might not be related to numbers in any way (secret: I’m a closet math nerd), and it might be just to get an hour to myself, but knowing why I’m doing something makes me do it like I mean it.
Career and life coach Mary Edwards shared her advice in an article titled “How to Think Like an Entrepreneur” in Studios (Fall 2013, “Creative Coach”). Even if you’re not considering an entrepreneurial life change, the questions she asks you to consider are important. Edwards’s questions aren’t necessarily easy to answer, but I’d like to ask you to answer at least one in writing. Keep it for yourself, or share it with the rest of us. Doing so will make it more concrete for you, and perhaps allow others to compare it to our own art stories, helping us to better understand what we all have in common and how we’re different.
“If you’ve never tried to develop a vision, the following exercise may help,” Edwards says. “Begin by having a friend conduct a mock interview that includes the following questions:
Why do you create the art you do? What is the point of it?
How is your work unique?
What do the various things you make have in common?
How do people respond when they see your work?
Be sure to have your friend take legible notes as you talk. Later on, use the notes to create a paragraph that summarizes your responses. Leave it on your desk for a day or a week, and then go back to it. The good parts should stand out, because they are clear and simple and true. They sound like you—you on a good day, a really smart version of you. Those sentences are the beginning of your vision.”
Which of these questions speak to you the most? I’ll go first and share what the point is for me. I experience art through a variety of means, and self-expression is the one thing that all my creative endeavors have in common. It’s about taking something that’s inside, and letting it out. Sometimes I share it with others (very publicly, obviously); sometimes only with close friends; and, of course, there are the expressive creations that I don’t need to share with anyone—just the air around me. Those are the ones that make the “public” art the best, because they’re honest and pure, free from judgment, made with no reservations.
Wow, it felt good to write that down. Now it’s your turn. Think about it, talk about it, share it here, and join the conversation.
Sign up for the ClothPaperScissors.com newsletter, and get a free download on art journal techniques!